One of France’s most important landmarks of modernist architecture, La Cité Radieuse housing estate in Marseille, built by the architect Le Corbusier, has been damaged by fire.
Fire services fought for over 12 hours to put out a blaze that began on Thursday afternoon in a first floor flat in the nine-storey concrete complex which is protected by special heritage status in France.
The fire was brought under control at around 7am on Friday morning as authorities began to assess the damage to what is deemed a monument to postwar communal housing. Three apartments had been gutted and many others seriously damaged.
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, the Swiss-born architect better known as Le Corbusier, built what was hailed as the vertical village between 1947 and 1951.
The building was inspired by travel, and was designed to look like a giant steamboat anchored in a park. Affectionately known as “la maison du fada” (the crackpot’s house), around 1,600 people live in its 334 famously sound-proofed duplex apartments with functional 1950s interior design in a grid of modernist lines of exposed unsurfaced concrete.